I was intrigued when I heard that the only daughter of two of country music’s greatest singers, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, was finally embarking on a music career and releasing an album on traditional country specialist indie label Heart Of Texas. With her genetic heritage, Georgette Jones ought to be a spectacular vocalist herself. She does have an airy sweetness in her voice which is all her own, owing nothing to copying her parents’ styles, but it is one which at times tends to skate prettily over the surface of her material, and is not entirely suited to the hard country songs she has picked, many of which really need a bigger voice.
Georgette first appeared on record as a small child with a cameo on the chorus on the post-divorce ‘Daddy Come Home’, a track on his 1981 release Still The Same Ole Me. An early marriage distracted her from any thoughts of a music career. She had a development deal with RCA in the mid 2000s, which did not come to anything, and there seems to have been some involvement with Curb. She re-emerged last year on the opening track on her father’s recent duets album, Burn Your Playhouse Down, with a rather sweet song which she co-wrote with one-hit-wonder Mark McGuinn, apparently about their real-life father-daughter relationship. ‘You And Me And Time’ reappears here, together with a pleasant cover of George’s hit ‘The Race Is On’. But it is Tammy Wynette who casts by far the bigger shadow on their daughter’s record.
The title track is a cover of one of Tammy’s songs which sounds potentially autobiographical, about a woman who is wealthy but lonely and possibly abused; living “in a mansion fit for a queen”:
But inside there’s a slightly used woman
On her body there’s scars and there’s dents
She’s just waitin’ for someone to love her
And ignore all his deep fingerprints
Georgette herself wrote (along with Ernie Rowell), a deeply touching letter in song addressed to her mother:
Now I wish that I could tell you
All the things you said were true
I wanna thank you for your love
And the little things you used to do
I know God took you for a reason
And I’m sure heaven welcomed you
I still want to say I love you but I can’t
I hope you knew
The delicate, almost fragile vocal on these two songs make Georgette sound vulnerable in a way which make the emotion feel very real and at these moments she really convinces as an artist. Her voice isn’t quite strong enough to convey the unfettered heartbreak of much of the material.
Brandy Davidson’s ‘Second Time Around’, for instance, is a great classic style song addressed to a serial leaver, but the vocal, although not bad, doesn’t really do it justice. I think it needs a bit more anger or intensity in the delivery of the neatly barbed lyric:
The first time that you left me
You said it really got you down
So did hurtin’ me get easier
The second time around?
You said you’d broken your heart too
The day that you broke mine
But I’m wondering now how many times
You plan to use that line
A version of Tammy’s first #1, ‘I Don’t Wanna Play House’, works well, with Georgette sounding more forceful than usual, and it rings particularly true given that Tammy was probably singing about Georgette’s older half sisters. The takes on ‘I Still Believe In Fairy Tales’ (one of Tammy’s lesser singles) and the album cut ‘Send Me No Roses’ (later a hit for Tommy Overstreet) are less effective. The first two of these, together with the album’s closing track, the hymn ‘Precious Memories’, were produced for Curb.
Another nice sounding but vocally light cover of a good song is Tommy Cash’s ‘You Don’t Hear’, addressed to a spouse who doesn’t appreciate what he’s got at home. Georgette duets with Mark McGuinn on his song ‘Better A Painful Ending’, which previously appeared on his independent release One Man’s Crazy. The song itself is fine, a big ballad which is better than its performance here, and Georgette sounds really good on this one, but I’ve never been impressed by McGuinn’s voice, which spoils the overall effect of the track for me.
‘Leaving Yesterday’, which Georgette wrote with Jeff Ross, about having trouble breaking up with someone, does not sound as intense as its lyric implies, but has a definite charm about it.
I think it is only fair to say that this record would attract relatively little attention if not for the artist’s family connections, but I have found it enjoyable to listen to, and at times moving.
Available digitally and on CD from CDBaby.